It’s a common theme in parenting groups these days: what can I ask for or give that won’t add to the clutter in my home? We already have so much “stuff” that the thought of an over-flowing Christmas tree isn’t as joyful as it was when we were kids. But if you’re like me, you still love the act of giving and receiving. So what is a conscious consumer to do? Here is my Green Gift Guide, full of thoughtful ideas that are kinder on the planet, your wallet, and your community.
Give an experience.
Experiential gifts are great because they don’t take up any physical space, yet can create lasting memories. If you’re able, participating in the experience yourself is an excellent way to share your time as well – your time is probably the most precious gift you can give to someone. Here are experiences you can give to someone on your list; I’ve included some links to some specific options in Toronto:
- Donate to a charity in their name.
- Touring your city exploring different independent coffee shops, art galleries, or paint cafes.
- Tickets (mystery theatre, musical, play, ballet, opera, sporting event, concert, escape room…).
- Host a dinner party once a month.
- Gift card for a healthy spa.
- Gift card for a favourite local restaurant (with babysitting, if applicable!).
- Yoga or exercise class passes or a personal trainer.
- Family photography session.
- Cooking classes.
- An in-home or virtual consultation with me to create a healthier home!
- Membership at a museum, zoo, or play place.
- Tickets to a play or musical performance.
- Classes or lessons (cooking, musical instrument, sport).
- Time throughout the year together exploring different parks and attractions in your city.
- Donate to a charity they can understand and appreciate.
Give stuff with meaning.
If you’re going to give “stuff”, focus on things that have some meaning or function. And this doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Here are some great ideas, many of which came from the Green Gift thread in the Green Product Forum Facebook Group last week:
- Photo books, albums, or calendar filled with memories from the year.
- Beer, Sock, Tie, Scotch, etc. -of-the-month club membership.
- Personalized books.
- Items that can help create a healthier home (cast iron pans, glass containers, cloth napkins, etc.).
- Board games to enjoy as a family.
- Craft supplies.
- Custom or personalized jewelry (Etsy is full of amazing options).
- Homemade sugar scrub, epsom salts, and lip balm.
Fight the urge to order everything from big box retailers or do a one-stop shop in a large mall. There are likely a number of great artists, makers, service providers, and businesses run by people in your community – support them first!
- Look for holiday markets in your local church, school, or community centre.
- Shop at stores that carry local artists and makers (if you’re in Toronto, check out the Nooks).
- Follow your local business improvement area or entrepreneur groups for announcements of what local businesses provide (like my post for Mamas & Co. featuring 20 more gift ideas).
I hope this gives you enough ideas to abandon the idea that holiday shopping has to be stressful and involve malls. I stopped shopping in malls several years ago, and couldn’t be happier! Let me know what your favourite greener gift ideas are!
This post contains an affiliate link for Organic Lifestyle – an online retailer of greener items for your home. If you purchase through the link provided, I will receive a small commission.